Two companies now offer energy bars that feature a chirpy and unusual ingredient: crickets. Two small start-ups—Utah-based Chapul and Brooklyn-based Exo—both seek to capitalize on the health and environmental benefits of cricket power.
Specifically, crickets (and insects in general) are an exceptionally rich source of protein. Per the Exo web site, dried crickets are 69 percent protein, compared to 29 and 31 percent for chicken and beef respectively. Cricket flour is also rich in iron and vitamin B12 and low in cholesterols and fat.
Crickets also represent a much more efficient means to produce protein. Unlike livestock, crickets require minimal land, water, and other resources and produce far fewer global warming emissions than other sources of protein (especially beef, by far the worst climate-offender in agriculture).
And don’t worry. Eating these new energy bars doesn’t require you to floss antennae stuck between your teeth. The crickets are ground up to create a “slightly nutty tasting” flour, which is then added to the bars. (Crickets are not the primary ingredient, accounting for roughly six percent of an Exo bar—about 40 crickets per bar.)
|A spoonful of crickets awaits. Photo from Exo Kickstarter page|
Exo bars come in four flavors—apple cinnamon, blueberry vanilla, cacao nut, and PB&J—and run $36 for a 12-pack. Chapul offers more exotic combinations, including an Aztec bar made with dark chocolate, coffee, and cayenne; and a Thai bar with coconut, ginger, and lime ($32 for a 12-pack).